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Knee and Hip Replacement Problems to be Tracked in New Registry

  • Written by: Staff Writers
  • 19 Comments

Orthopedic surgeons are preparing to launch a new registry designed to track problems with hip and knee implants across the United States in hopes of detecting potentially defective artificial joint replacement systems as early as possible.  

The American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR) is being created by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and hopes to eventually cover nearly all of the 5,000 U.S. hospitals that perform joint replacement surgery.

The program will start this month in 15 hospitals, and will track basic details about the implants, the surgeons and the implant recipients. The registry will be informed when patients need revision surgery, which should give doctors an indication of how long certain implants last, and will alert them when a particular joint replacement system seems to be failing too quickly or too often.

The registry comes on the heels of a number of recent reports of problems involving defective joint replacement systems.

In August, a DePuy ASR hip implant recall was issued for about 93,000 artificial hips after it was discovered that about 12% to 13% of the individuals who received the hip implant had their device fail within five years. Many DePuy ASR lawsuits have been filed on behalf of individuals who received the implant, alleging that doctors were expressing concerns to DePuy about a higher-than-expected failure rate for the metal hip system before the recall.

Similar concerns are now being reported involving problems with Zimmer NextGen knee replacement systems, which have not been recalled. In March, a group of orthopedic surgeons released a report highlighting the risk of Zimmer NexGen knee failures, with nearly 9% of reviewed cases requiring revision surgery and 36% showing signs of the replacement knee loosening. The researchers looked at the two year results of 108 knee replacement surgeries and concluded that the Zimmer NexGen knee problems were linked to the design of the implant, and were not related to the surgeon, the surgical approach or the type of patient receiving the knee implant.

The AJRR will be designed to help identify issues with particular hip or knee replacement products much earlier. It will be the first registry of its kind in the U.S., but there are similar registries in the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries. In fact, it was the U.K. registry that first detected the high failure rates in the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System. The U.S.’s complex and expansive medical system has made it difficult to launch a similar effort.

If successful, the pilot program would begin expanding to other hospitals next year.

Plans for the registry were first announced in July 2009. It is partially funded by medical device manufacturers, some of whom sit on the registry’s board. Some experts say that the registry could save them money by detecting recalls early, potentially helping the company avoid product liability lawsuits from thousands of patients who receive the implants.

The AAOS says that in 2006 there were more than 1 million hip and knee replacement surgeries performed in the U.S. Of those, 7.5% were revision surgeries. The 77,000 procedures to replace or repair defective or poorly installed artificial hip and knee joints added $32 billion to the cost of medical care. The AAOS says that the registry costs about $20 to $25 million to launch.

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19 comments

  1. James Reply

    Both hips replaced 5/6 years ago. One good and the other I was told by the Doctor was a defective device and announced by the manufacturer.

    Having problems with the defective unit.

  2. Ron Reply

    My wife’s orthopedic surgeon has replaced over 500 hips but the one he placed (2 yeqrs ago) in my wife’s left hip has painfully dislocated twice this year . First time was when she swiveled in our recliner. Second time was when she was shaving her legs. Second time a serious blood clot developed. Fortunately the clot was diagnosed at Johns Hopkins (not where the hip replacements were done) and she had a Greenfield filter installed 10 years.

  3. robert Reply

    had resurfiscing in 2008 but had loads pain had screws removed 2008 kept geting pain went back to surgeon had loads tests then april 2010 went in four full hip replacement still getting loads pain three years on nearly now got to have knee replacement soon rob nov 2 2010

  4. robert Reply

    had hip surgery in 2008 but was in loads of pain went back to surgeon had more tests was in constant pain had screws removed but still in pain sowent back to surgeon and in 2010 april i had hip replacement but still in some pain plus got to have knee opp some time this has cost me a good three years of work dont know when its going to end

  5. Jamie Reply

    I have partial knee replacements in both knees….I am 44 yrs old…they had mobile bearings …both bearings failed two times……complete breakages 3 times…and one jumped in the joint….I just had my fourth major revision last friday….they chiseled off the metal backer and glued the fixed bearing directly onto the bone…I recognize that I am overweight…but these should last more than a 3 mos to a year. I have heard others have had problems with the DePuy system as well.

  6. *amela Reply

    I have avascular necrosis in both hips. I had a Depuy Left Total Hip Arthrosplasty done in May of 2008 and in the past 3 or 4 monthes have started to have problems. My implant is a pinnacle acetabular cup with a pinnacle metal insert and a metal on metal Articul/eze femoral head. My hip implant is not the recalled one but I am having the exact same symtoms. Pain I my gorin, thigh, and in my left buttock. My implant clicks when I walk and pops when I stretch or twist. I am afraid it is going to dislocate. I had my cobalt level drawn in it was 99. Normal level is 1.9 or less. So now besides the chronic pain I am experiencing, I have Metallosis!!! Everyone that reads this post needs to contact their Senator and Rep. and tell them to pass the Medical device bill allowing the victums of these painful and life altering events to sue to hold the manufactures of medical devices accountable. We are victums and have no legal recourse. FDA do your job and protect us from faulty implants.

  7. Juergen Reply

    Upfront, here are serial numbers of the cup and bone screws of my
    DePuy Pinnacle (metal on metal) ACE Tabular Cup full hip replacement:

    a. DePuy Pinnacle ACE Tabular Cup
    REF 1217-22-056 LOT C31EF1000
    SZ MM 56

    b. DePuy Pinnacle Cancellous Bone Screw (2 screws same serial numbers)
    REF 1217-30-500 LOT AF 2E6400
    DIA MM 6.5
    MM LGT 30

    1. My right hip was replaced using one of the DePuy devices 2 days before Christmas 2008.

    2. For the first 3 months after surgery I was unable to lie down straight in bed, only changing certain positions hourly sitting in a recliner allowed me to bear severe and violent pain. Actually, to the day (almost 2 years after surgery), I am not able to sit, stand, or lie down for more than a couple of hours, rather less. Even when I don’t move at all, severe and violent pain kicks in. During that time I also was ordered physical therapy. At the time, my Physical Therapist also wondered why I still was in so much pain.

    3. Once I was ordered to walk on full weight, I was never able to walk more than half a mile without severe pain kicking in. Actually, to the day my hip replaced leg starts hurting badly when I walk only very short distances, much shorter than half a mile and often when I don’t walk also. My surgeon always suggested to be patient as recovery from a severe operation like that could take up to a year, or more.

    4. The last time I saw my surgeon was in January of 2010. Again, I told him how severe my pains still were. Dr. Cuff discussed a bone marrow transplant with me. A procedure that could help to fasten the stem part of my implanted hip. But Dr. Cuff recommended to stay away from that procedure as he knew of only a couple of cases and they weren’t successful. On top of it I could be on crutches for another 10 to 12 months.

    5. During this past spring/summer I tried to see my surgeon again. Mainly because I was suffering more and more. Unfortunately, due to my long tern ‘Leave of Absence’ I had lost my job and all my benefits including health insurance. My surgeon’s front office told me over the phone that I would have to pay a fee of $160 just to see the doctor as an uninsured person. I simply could not afford that at the time.

    6. After I learned that I have a ACE tabucular cup hip replacement made by Depuy Orthopedics, I went to the Venice Regional hospital in order to request my Medical Records and Implant Report. It was a kind of odd that the clerks at the hospital said that they can provide my Medical Records, but that it seemed strange that they were unable to find the serial number of my DePuy hip replacement. They told me that they would send me a copy when they would find it. After appr. 2 weeks I received a copy of the implanted system, and it states ‘DePuy Pinnacle ACE tabular’. While this device is not under the official recall, it is also a metal on metal, and many articles/blog posts by doctors, lawyers and patients talk about the same symptoms I suffer from. Supposedely, the FDA has more than 300 patient complaints on that device.

    7. My medical condition, personal situation and circumstances get worst and worst.
    Furthermore, and after my employer Comcast Cable had terminated me because of extended ‘Leave of Absence due to illness’, I applied for unemployment benefits. Unemployment was denied because the agency was not able to help me because of my illnesses. Since surgery and after I started to sit for extended time, not only severe pain bothered me, also a condition called Edema (excessive swelling of my right food). Both my doctors back then (until January of 2009), Dr. Cuff and Dr. Schulte knew about that additional condition.

    Meanwhile I have developed more severe pain in the hip area of my operated hip, also of my left hip, back, and all the way up the neck. My severe and violent pain is causing me a lot of discomfort, my overall medical condition seems to get worst and worst, ie.

    -I cannot get in and outside of a vehicle without terrible pain in my right leg and right hip.

    -I cannot get up from sitting or laying down positions without terrible pain in my left and right leg and left and right hip.

    -I can only walk very short distances without severe pain starting inside my right leg and right hip.

    -I move and walk very slowly, because I am afraid to fall with every single step I do.

    -I have to sit down in order to get dressed.

    -When I turn my neck to the left or to the right a little faster than very slow, I see ‘stars’. Also, when I move my neck, another violent pain stretches out all the way down to my lower back.

    -Both my hands and arms developed a tingling sensation that stretches all the way from the tip of my pinky fingers to the ellbows.

    -Each time I have to cough or sneeze, I experience a violent pain sensation inside right thigh and hip areas.

    -I have Diarrhea almost all the time, no matter what I drink or eat. Many times there is also blood in my stool.

    8. At the end of August 2010 I applied for Social Security Disability benefits. My initial claim was denied 11/23/2010. I am in the procedure to appeal that decision and report to the SSA that I am suffering from the DePuy hip replacement.

    9. I am also in the procedure to seek legal help on the matter of my failing DePuy hip replacement.

    10. At the present time, I believe that I am in urgent need of medical care. Having lost medical insurance due to the loss of my job, and being denied help from the local Senior Citizen Help Center, I am trying to gain eligibility for the County’s Health Department.

    11. While I have no complaints about Dr. Cuff’s care and the care I received at the Venice Regional Hospital, I have a problem to see Dr. Cuff again. Reason why:

    a) I cannot afford their fees as an uninsured person.

    b) When you look up DePuy Orthopedics official website, and search for associated doctors in Venice/Florida, Dr. Noah pops up first. Dr. Noah and Dr. Cuff both work for Suncoast Orthopedics Medical Center, 836 Sunset Lake Blvd., Venice, Florida 34292.

    12. Today, 12/14/2010 I filed complaint with the FDA online.

  8. Lisa Reply

    I have had DePuy Knee Replacements in my right knee. I have had nine knee revisions due to dislocation, wrong size prothesis, and two MRSA infections in my right knee. All my revisions only lasted three to four months. I stayed in the hospital for one month then during another right knee revision another month. I received months and years of physical therapy, but nothing has helped. I even have tried swimming. I can no longer walk except by walker. My knee is still dislocated and I must again receive a revision on my right knee Dupuy replacement.

  9. Penny Reply

    My 1st hip replacement in 2/05 was a J & J DePuy Pinnacle-Sector II – Acetabular cup, sz mm 52 – ref 1217-22-052 and Pinnacle Cancellous Bone Screw – ref 1217-25-500.

    This defective hip was replaced in 1/07 with a DePuy Zimmer Articul/Eze Metal on Metal Femoral Head, etc. This one has been a nitemare beyond belief–Greater Trochanter fractured 24 hours after the surgery followed by 3 or 4 dislocations. The loose implant makes so much noise-popping sound, grinding, etc. Everytime I try to take my knee to chest, I cannot lower it until I hear the clunk sound of it going back in to socket joint. After almost 4 years, it feels like it will dislocate at any time. Had a total hip replacement on rt hip in 2/10 and it is so perfect. In fact within 1 month, I could do stretches & exercises that I am unable to do on the left. Just had the blood work done for Metallous and very anxious to hear the count.

  10. CAROL Reply

    I had a DePuy Knee Revision MBT, Dec. 30, 2008. Result of a level 6 tibia plateau fracture. At first the knee was doing great and I worked hard at PT for a year and was riding a bike and walking. But at the end of that year I began to have pain that required Ultram and later Mobic. Then had to double the Ultram. I now go up and down the steps one at a time and have limited time on a stationary bike. The knee at times feels like I have a torn menicus or that the knee cap is not tracking. Also the leg feels bruised from the upper thigh down to where the rod ends, 2/3 down tibia. Since this is a knee revision, is there anything that can be done.

  11. Rogers Reply

    I had a depuy knee replacement device installed June 20 2005, The first year after rehabing from the sugery and learning to walk for the first time in 15 years without pain in my joint was wierd. About mid 2007 I started experiencing unusual sharp pains shooting through my right knee and it has progressively gotten worse. Here it is 2011 and it feels like I never had sugery. I have the same symptoms now with my replaced knee that I had before the TNR. THis joint replacement device is a peice of crap. The sugery and rehab, and after care cost right at 100 grand. Now I going to have to go through it all a second time to fix the first mistake.

  12. Ruth Reply

    Total joint replacement on 11-03-08. DePuy. I hve had ongoing problems with discomfort and it has now been over 2 years. I have changed doctors and will ask to re-evaluate this knee replacement, especially now that I know there are problems. An answer to my situation would be very welcomed.

  13. Karla Reply

    The Depuy recall is on hips…the knees are fine and they are still using them.

  14. charles Reply

    I had a hip replacement about 5 years ago. The right leg was a 1/2″ shorter before the operation. Now it is a 1/2″ longer, which results in being 1″ longer. This caused me pain when I walked. Over time the condition has gotten worse.

  15. Billy Reply

    I have been having problems with my right knee I had it replaced several years ago and i have been having trouble bending my right knee ever since they put it in. I was just wondering what could be causing my knee to bother me so much and is there anything that could fix the pain.

  16. michael Reply

    i had both knees replaced 2005 and 2006 they lasted about a year and a half then i started haveing pain in both knees went to see a knee surgen and he told me they were loose ,now i live with very bad pain every day

  17. Cheryl Reply

    TThat was i can’t do therapy.

  18. cheryl Reply

    I had total knee replacement Jul 2008,to date i am in misery,pain all the time,i have ace depuy products in my right knee that constantly swells halfway down my leg and up my thigh,i have titanium in this knee and want it out,my other knee is going but refuse to have surgery and in up in a wheelchair at 57 yrs.young.Can anyone recommend a good lawyer,i was told i had fibromyagia,by surgeon that did the surgery,was put on oxicodone didn’t work,just lost weight,looked twenty years older than i was, got a second opinion and was told i don’t have that. I need help,can do therapy,they have no compassion for you. Suffering in Beacon ,N.Y.

  19. cheryl Reply

    Almost five years with this pain,visited surgeon a year ago,told me good luck,and there was nothing he could do for me,Still suffering in Beacon,NY.

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